I have sent the following letter to Housing Minister Brandon Lewis, MP.
Dear Mr Lewis
Further to your letter of 30th July 2015 in which you gave excellent guidance, on the way in which market signals should be used to adjust 20 year house building targets – in Local Plans.
You advised in particular that targets (based on demographic projections) should be adjusted for housing delivery rates, before and after the recession.
That of course made eminent sense, if only because youngsters are living longer with parents and can’t afford to buy.
Sadly Horsham District Council failed to follow that advice and now has an adopted plan with an unattainable 20-year housing target.
Not only did the Planning Inspector fail to verify that Horsham District Council had made a suitable market adjustment, but he made the problem worse by requiring the target to be increased from 650 to 800 dwellings per annum.
That represents a massive increase over the 453dpa average in eight years prior to recession - when UK GDP increases averaged around three per cent pa.
It will lead to more indiscriminate and distorted development, with infrastructure overloading, which is clearly most unsatisfactory.
This and other serious flaws in the Local Plan, were pointed out by myself and others during the Planning Inspector’s review – but were largely ignored.
So I drew the flaws to the notice of the Chief Planning Inspector in a letter dated 18th November but have not had a meaningful response.
Clearly any organisation must be able to learn from experience, particularly one that costs the UK taxpayer over £40 million pa. So I very much hope that the flaws will not be neglected by the Chief Planning Inspector and that you will want to verify that.
Many thanks for taking the time to read this letter. I wish you the best of luck in 2016, with the challenges ahead.
Melrose Place, Storrington
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